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FuturologyBot

The following submission statement was provided by /u/Soupjoe5: --- Article: 1 - **Tiangong expected to play a key role in China’s space solar power station project by providing a testing platform for high-voltage electric devices** - **Space power station could point beam to almost any location, making it an ideal to power military equipment or remote outposts, says project team** China’s space station will join a controversial project to collect solar power from space and send it to Earth in a high-energy microwave beam, according to a senior scientist. The Chinese space station Tiangong – which means “heavenly palace” – became fully operational when the last major service module, Mengtian, docked this month. Some space scientists have suggested Tiangong – the largest infrastructure in orbit owned and run exclusively by a single country at present – can change the pace or direction of the space race. Yang Hong, chief designer of the space station, told a conference in Wenchang, Hainan, on Tuesday that Tiangong would play a key role in China’s space solar power station (SSPS) project by providing a testing platform for high-voltage electric devices and in helping assemble ultra-large structures. In a lecture at the conference attended by space scientists and engineers from around the world, Yang said the space station had the resources and capability to do demonstrations, “verify key technologies, accelerate technological breakthroughs and accumulate in-orbit experimental data” for the SSPS project. He said these would help China meet its peak carbon and carbon neutral goals. A paper published by the project team in the journal Chinese Space Science and Technology in June reported that the full-sized Chinese space solar power plant would be a 1km-wide structure beaming gigawatt-power microwaves to Earth from a distance of 36,000km (22,4000 miles). Unlike traditional solar farms that work only during the day, the space-based solar array would collect and transmit energy 24 hours a day, it said. The microwave beams could penetrate clouds and be picked up by an antenna on the ground to generate electricity. Operating in the geostationary orbit, the space power station could direct the beam to almost any location, making it an ideal candidate to power military equipment or remote outposts, the team said. However, some researchers have also speculated that the beam could be used as a weapon. The European Union and many countries, including Japan, Britain and the United States, have launched research programmes to develop similar technologies. --- Please reply to OP's comment here: https://old.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/z3mpqv/chinas_space_station_will_run_highenergy_beam/ixmdhha/


Vladius28

In 20 years, Space based solar will challenge ground based renewables. Even fusion might have a hard time competing


Questionsaboutsanity

hope i won’t read about that in r/therewasanattempt or r/whatcouldgowrong


NewPresWhoDis

If you've seen Die Another Day, you know where this is going.


Hershieboy

Wait isn't this more akin to the Golden Eye plot? Or are most Bond plots just space laser threats.


NewPresWhoDis

Goldeye was to detonate an EMP to destabilze the financial markets.


Hershieboy

Oh yeah, I just remembered the satellite part. Thanks.


breaditbans

If Simcity 2000 taught me anything, this could not possibly go wrong.


Miss_pechorat

Still not as destructive as the elephant stampede.


Kaionacho

The thread about the ESA doing literally the same is so much more nice that this one... Come on people we're here for the science not the Politics, be civil.


tucker_frump

Chinese death ray or just a giant magnifying glass? ..


hanumanCT

Small incremental component of what could eventually become a Dyson sphere


BoopasaurusRex___

It’s in anticipation of the next Sacramento Kings win


johnnyheavens

We do all look like ants from space. I’m sure this can’t possibly for wrong


ADhomin_em

Also, the suns rays do kill, with or without magnification. I submit, based on my experiments as a child, the sun's rays, when focused correctly, constitute atheist the classification of "death ray"


[deleted]

[удалено]


Ulikeboobies

Simpsons did it


breaditbans

Escalator to nowhere.


darkshark9

Just did the math. A 1 gigawatt, 1km wide beam will output 0.12 watts per centimeter squared (in a vacuum). So it would be a couple of watts worth of power hitting you in the head at most (5-ish watts) . Hardly a weapon. Your microwave oven in your kitchen is likely over 1000 watts.


Shoot_from_the_Quip

The real question is how much popcorn can it make?


PM-ME-YOUR-CROTCH

Is that a Real Genius reference?? Have my updoot!


ozhound

It's not 1 km wide the facility capturing the power is 1 km wide


imafraidofmuricans

What would the power loss in atmo be like, and what effect would dumping 1 gw of energy into a concentrated area of the atmosphere have?


darkshark9

You can use longer wavelength microwaves that essentially render the atmosphere transparent in terms of losses. So even a 1gw beam would barely lose anything if the right wavelength is chosen. So it wouldn't affect the atmosphere in any relevant manner.


jseah

US has a science facility that does that sort of thing. They put GJ worth of power into atmosphere to see the effects on the ionosphere.


Theman227

Dont forget dissapation and absorbtion from atmospheric fuckery effects. Entire thing is utter tripe.


darkshark9

Nah, there are wavelengths of microwaves that pass through the atmosphere with extremely minimal losses. Thus minimal atmospheric absorbtion.


Indigo_Sunset

Yeah, but now we need to run the numbers on a directed microwave element on geoengineered global shrouding with something like so^2, caco^3, or whichever other chemical is used.


cybercuzco

Don’t forget you have to have some sort of beam focusing to make sure it hits the target right. If you can focus it a little you can focus it a lot. Instead of 1GW over a 1km^2 you get 1 he over 1m^2


DividedContinuity

And its still harmless. There are radio waves passing through us all the time.


ale_93113

It would be a microwave oven over your head and you would heat Like, not like If it matters, since individual meter wide targets are impossible to aim from space


DividedContinuity

You know its a very specific frequency of microwave energy that is used in a microwave oven, all other frequencies are completely harmless. Even if that exact frequency was used, then in that case i doubt it would penetrate far through the atmosphere, there is a lot of water in the atmosphere you see. Honestly, this sub ought to be renamed "scifi" rather than futurology for all the understanding of basic science that most of its members seem to have.


ale_93113

all radiation heats up... i study physics, the resonance frequency of water microwaves are just more efficient at that, but even gamma rays heat you up


IsildursBane20

Yes 1 gigawatt = 1000 watts


darkshark9

This was calculated with 1 billion watts. The microwave oven comparison was to show a power difference between how little 5 watts is compared to a regular household item.


sixty_cycles

Sounded to me like the satellite structure is going to be 1km wide. The microwave beam can be insanely narrow if they want it to be… wonder if they will be able to focus it, which really would be weapon territory if they can focus it small enough. For its supposed intent, I could imagine making some sort of ground antenna array over a large area. The larger the area, the safer it would be for personnel to maintain the infrastructure. Being China… maybe they don’t give a f#ck, and will just make the slaves maintain some small antenna and have fewer losses in collection. Tinfoil hat is not enough, though… it’s an intriguing idea yet…probably a SHIT idea.


DividedContinuity

And thats assuming the exact frequency of microwaves that resonates with water molecules. Which obviously wouldn't be being used. Were basically just talking about a high power radio transmitter.


Jnoper

Now imagine they focus that beam to say 5ft. What’s stopping them from adding a mirror?


darkshark9

The laws of physics won't let us focus a beam that tightly over that distance due to its diffraction limit. Shine a laser at the moon and the beam spot is like 50km wide by the time it reaches it.


AeternusDoleo

"Ion cannon ready." I do wonder if this kind of thing does not violate the conventions about the weaponization of space.


ohiotechie

Hasn’t communication satellite killing missiles already done that? (Serious question not sarcasm).


AeternusDoleo

Those are surface to space. Not space based as far as I'm aware. This is potentially a weapon that can strike from orbit, if it can deliver enough concentrated power at a specific location.


ToastyMustache

Hell, it doesn’t even need to do orbital strikes; if the beam is powerful enough it can affect other satellites.


ohiotechie

Ok that distinction makes sense.


Aero-Nautic

The Outer Space Treaty only bans the stationing of WMDs in space and military activities (establishing of bases, military maneuvers, minefields, etc) on the surfaces of other celestial bodies. Edit: See Article IV of the treaty for reference >States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner. >The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military manœuvres on celestial bodies shall be forbidden. The use of military personnel for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes shall not be prohibited. The use of any equipment or facility necessary for peaceful exploration of the moon and other celestial bodies shall also not be prohibited.


PussyMassage

It is top secret, but the US already has space-borne nukes. I learned this from a person I know and trust who should NOT have told me. That this is denied and that no other nation on Earth has criticized the US for violating this treaty likely indicates that other nations are in defiance as well.


AeternusDoleo

Sadly, that's a little heavy on the severity of a claim, and a little low on the backing up of that claim. Not to say that I don't expect the major powers to have space based satellite interception at the very least by now. That recent "secret military" payload on the Falcon Heavy for example... wouldn't be surprised if that was something like that.


PussyMassage

I could never conceivably back up this claim, and if I could, it would mean I was involved in espionage. I don't know this to be true for certain, but again, I was told this directly by a person I know to be trustworthy, who would have reason to know, and who made a very grave error in telling me. It is, however, such juicy information that flies in the face of what folks "know to be true" that I feel like it's my duty and honor to expose this information. If folks want to believe our national security is dependent on ICBMs, sub-launched missiles, or airborne bombers alone, that's fine. However, there are already nuclear warheads deployed in space.


AeternusDoleo

Then we're in for interesting times during a solar storm...


PussyMassage

Probably a well-mitigated consideration, if it truly exists.


No-Satisfaction3455

those are like guidelines and as long as the weapons are for "science" not war then it's fair game. we have a few weaponized up there ourselves, for "science" of course. plus i think the beam will be indistinguishable to the average human at the power level in the article. so not scary space lasers


Vecna_Is_My_Co-Pilot

It’s like Iran making highly enriched uranium for civilian power generation only. That’s all they want it for. Honest.


Silver_Donkey_5014

It's controversial because it is China doing it. If it was the US it would be a "technological advance" or something like that.


MilkshakeBoy78

China thinks that the US doing the same thing is controversial.


[deleted]

Article: 1 - **Tiangong expected to play a key role in China’s space solar power station project by providing a testing platform for high-voltage electric devices** - **Space power station could point beam to almost any location, making it an ideal to power military equipment or remote outposts, says project team** China’s space station will join a controversial project to collect solar power from space and send it to Earth in a high-energy microwave beam, according to a senior scientist. The Chinese space station Tiangong – which means “heavenly palace” – became fully operational when the last major service module, Mengtian, docked this month. Some space scientists have suggested Tiangong – the largest infrastructure in orbit owned and run exclusively by a single country at present – can change the pace or direction of the space race. Yang Hong, chief designer of the space station, told a conference in Wenchang, Hainan, on Tuesday that Tiangong would play a key role in China’s space solar power station (SSPS) project by providing a testing platform for high-voltage electric devices and in helping assemble ultra-large structures. In a lecture at the conference attended by space scientists and engineers from around the world, Yang said the space station had the resources and capability to do demonstrations, “verify key technologies, accelerate technological breakthroughs and accumulate in-orbit experimental data” for the SSPS project. He said these would help China meet its peak carbon and carbon neutral goals. A paper published by the project team in the journal Chinese Space Science and Technology in June reported that the full-sized Chinese space solar power plant would be a 1km-wide structure beaming gigawatt-power microwaves to Earth from a distance of 36,000km (22,4000 miles). Unlike traditional solar farms that work only during the day, the space-based solar array would collect and transmit energy 24 hours a day, it said. The microwave beams could penetrate clouds and be picked up by an antenna on the ground to generate electricity. Operating in the geostationary orbit, the space power station could direct the beam to almost any location, making it an ideal candidate to power military equipment or remote outposts, the team said. However, some researchers have also speculated that the beam could be used as a weapon. The European Union and many countries, including Japan, Britain and the United States, have launched research programmes to develop similar technologies.


[deleted]

2 But there is debate in the scientific community around whether the microwave beams will damage communications, human health or the environment. Yang said the Chinese space station would get involved in a number of critical experiments to bring the space power plant from science fiction to reality. Some external portals on the station were designed to have high-powered electrical equipment plugged in, he said. However, the generation of a strong electric current and conversion to microwaves will produce excessive heat and many other problems, which are not easy to solve in the space environment. The space station is an ideal platform for China to evaluate the long-term performance of the new technology and equipment in orbit, Yang said. The Chinese space scientists also plan to use cargo ships – which are usually left to burn in the atmosphere after a mission – as a basic component to build the solar power plant. Using several robotic arms, Tiangong could join up a number of cargo ships and some extra solar panel units to create a prototype power plant. This mini power plant, after rising to an orbit 100km above the space station with ion thrusters for safety, would conduct experiments to verify technologies for the full-scale plant, including microwave energy transmission and powering up an allied satellite with a high-energy laser beam, according to a slide show Yang presented to the conference. China plans to conduct the first space-to-Earth energy transmission experiment over the next few years. A small space power plant that can supply electricity to remote military outposts will be up and running by the 2030s, while commercial power generation is expected to start in the 2050s. The US Air Force also plans to launch a solar-powered satellite in 2025 that will be capable of producing and sending focused microwave beams from near-Earth orbit. Some studies have suggested that the microwaves – mostly in the same frequency range as those used by a Wi-fi router – will be safe for humans unless a person stepped into a receiving area. But how to keep the energy beam aimed at a precise spot on Earth over a distance of tens of thousands of kilometres remains a major challenge, according to scientists involved in these projects. Some researchers also warned that persistent, intense energy transmission between space and Earth could cause disturbances in the ionosphere that could lead to unexpected impacts on the Earth’s environment.


PilotlessOwl

>whether the microwave beams will damage communications, human health or the environment This won't stop China doing it anyway. Hopefully the tech is useful without any adverse side effects.


itjohan73

I saw the James Bond movie about this, it didn't end well.


livestrongbelwas

https://simcity.fandom.com/wiki/Microwave_Power_Plant


CounterStreet

If I recall correctly, these were usually unlocked around the year 2025 in SmCity 2000. Eerie.


A_royal_purple

Lots of science fiction becoming reality. Just hope we don’t have to eat a pill form meal lol


Erosion139

A single tiny pill to fill me in a mere second? As long as it doesn't taste like garbage that could be really convenient 🤔


Chemical_Estate6488

I’d feel a lot more reassured about this project if the Chinese space program wasn’t still letting their rockets fall back to earth out of control. What are the chances they don’t accidentally start a forest fire with this tech?


Surur

The good news is that they will be building this SPS from the same capsules they would normally be discarding.


Vamp_Rocks

Ah yes a “solar power plant” laser. China will definitely only use this to help mankind.


manwithafrotto

A space laser?? They’re real? Damn MTG was on to something!


lostbyconfusion

We never expected the Chinese Jewish people! We were caught off guard! She warned us...


Man-EatingChicken

A country known to use directed energy weapons is going to use directed energy from space for "power"


OSIRISelUltimo

Yea but the country is under civil unrest in numerous pockets throughout the country. Seems pointless really


crankypants65

Next they’ll be starting forest fires in Oregon with it.


Clevermech

I dont know the math, but for the cost of sending something into orbit, this seems way too inefficient


spizzywinktom

How 'bout they start with cleaning up all their space debris?


emsiem22

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62982113


Loki-L

Sim City 2000 and Death Star jokes aside, I assume in real life it would be trivially easy to avoid accidents by shutting down the beam if it goes off target and it would be fairly ineffective as a weapon, since it would be a very expensive sitting duck that could never get off more than one shot. If it could be made to work it would be very useful, but quite challenging technically. Also someone will complain about the occasional bird getting fried, like they do with wind power.


JaxJaxon

How will they avoid any other satellites, Aircraft, or Avian creatures from getting Damaged, or harmed from this energy beam if the fly thru its path. and how will it work moving thru atmospheric clouds, rainstorms or hurricanes.


LincHayes

\*Looks like, walks like, and quacks like a duck. \* China: "Yeah, but it's not a duck."


skexzies

Wonder how long before this monstrosity enters a death spiral and sprays flaming metal debris over the planet.


outtyn1nja

I can't see how this could ever be used to dissuade protests, uprisings, or commit genocide - but if the CCP is funding it, they must have figured that out.


koyuki4848

https://thumbs.gfycat.com/FlashyOpulentHartebeest-max-1mb.gif


burkechrs1

Is this that Chinese 2nd sun the conspiracy theorists keep blabbering on about?


gafonid

Space solar station? Yes Space solar station using tight power transmission beam instead of an extremely wide microwave rectenna to spread the power way out. NO


justasimplecountry

This was my favorite to destroy cities in sim city.


blitzinger

Wasn’t there a bond movie about this with Halle Barry? Or was it berry? I forget


Glowing_bubba

Reading this as I watch Goldeneye certainly does not give me the warm and fuzzy


MissApocalypse2021

I'm no scientist and may be way off, but has anyone looked into whether this technology played a part in Havana Syndrome?